Help for an old kneelo!

Toppa's picture
Toppa started the topic in Friday, 23 Mar 2018 at 8:23pm

I was reading an old discussion on boards for older surfers and thought I'd ask you guys in Swellnet World for a bit of help. I'm 55 turning 56 in June. I've been a passionate kneelo for 42 years. I currently weigh 87 kgs, but this will change in the next couple of months. I was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in January this year, not the new year I was anticipating. My prognosis is positive, I am currently undergoing chemotherapy and in May I will have my entire stomach removed as well as part of the lower end of my oesophagus. It is expected that I will lose 20% of my body weight which will see me tip the scales at about 71kgs. I haven't been that weight since I was 17! I will then undergo more chemo sessions. Doctors are confident I will recover and surprisingly you can live a good quality of life without a stomach. To help keep me positive and give me something to look forward to, I thought that when I recover I would by myself a longboard or mini mal and stand up! That would be two miracles in one year, healed from cancer and being a crip for over 40 years! I like the idea of joining the longboard crew in smaller surf on the points along my stretch of coastline. Riding a kneeboard in under 2ft surf isn't much fun but a longboard would be. If anyone can suggest a board and relevant dimensions I would be very appreciative. I guess my weight will eventually go up a little when I fully recover so I will set my weight at 75kgs for this task. Thanks guys for any help you can offer! Toppa

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Saturday, 24 Mar 2018 at 6:39am

Sorry to hear the new Toppa.. but stoked you're remaining positive and working towards getting back out in the water. 

75kgs is well under my dimensions so I'll let one of the featherweight commentators chime in with some appropriate dims.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Saturday, 24 Mar 2018 at 8:28am

Sheesh Toppa, grim stuff although darkly funny too. How many miracles till you become a saint? You oughta look into that.

I imagine you're gonna lose a bit of strength after the op and chemo? So go the full log, think 10 foot (give or take), thick rails, minimal rocker, single fin. You'll find plenty that are not only functional but look damn good too. Classic styling!

Dimensions aren't anywhere near as crucial as shortboards (stand up and kneelos), so take 9.5 - 10 foot long x 23 wide x 3 thick as a guide and shop around.

I've never fully understand the point of a mini mal. Either go short and turn or go long and cruise, but mid-lengths are the worst of both worlds, though I see enough people on them to realise I may be talking out my arse. So, if you're dead set on riding a mini mal then don't listen to dickheads on the internet and just do it. Though I would go longer first then work down.

Good luck.

upnorth's picture
upnorth's picture
upnorth commented Saturday, 24 Mar 2018 at 8:47am

Love your attitude Toppa, inspiring. I've got a board that's good to pull out in the small stuff 7'6, 21'1/2, 2' 4/5 probably fairly standard dims for a mini mal but I'm 75kg so could be an option.

upnorth's picture
upnorth's picture
upnorth commented Saturday, 24 Mar 2018 at 8:55am

^^^ Probably good advice to start longer and work down, I can turn that board enough to keep things interesting and cruise as well. Never ridden a log so can't compare.

Toppa's picture
Toppa's picture
Toppa commented Saturday, 24 Mar 2018 at 10:06am

Thanks Ben

Toppa

Toppa's picture
Toppa's picture
Toppa commented Saturday, 24 Mar 2018 at 10:08am

Cheers upnorth!

Toppa

Toppa's picture
Toppa's picture
Toppa commented Saturday, 24 Mar 2018 at 10:09am

Yep sounds good advice to me thanks Stu!

Toppa

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Saturday, 24 Mar 2018 at 10:27am

Toppa may i suggest buying a cheap Tuflite or similiar Mal/mini mal to use after surgery
A couple hundred should get you a worn one...they are light as .....much easier to play on until your strength increases
Good luck with it all.

Toppa's picture
Toppa's picture
Toppa commented Saturday, 24 Mar 2018 at 10:32am

Cheers Udo I appreciate that buddy.

Toppa

Toppa's picture
Toppa's picture
Toppa commented Saturday, 24 Mar 2018 at 4:28pm

Thanks guys they are some really helpful tips I really appreciate it. Just looking ahead post cancer it's something to motivate me and help help keep me positive. Thanks to all of you.

Toppa

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Saturday, 24 Mar 2018 at 5:08pm

Bought a second hand eight foot mini mal that is wide and thick (23 inches wide). It catches waves so easily like a mal, paddles so fast you can catch up to a wave sometimes and speeds along on tiny waves. It has some rocker in the tail so you can change direction easily but as yet no carving. It is great for small beacbreaks and points and makes fun sessions out of anything with a little bit of a lined up wave. Duck diving is not really possible though. I now target sessions that on a short board would have me bogging down and bored. So a thick wide mini mal will give you what you want.

Frogg

Toppa's picture
Toppa's picture
Toppa commented Saturday, 24 Mar 2018 at 7:09pm

Cheers Frog!

Toppa

Cripple52's picture
Cripple52's picture
Cripple52 commented Saturday, 24 Mar 2018 at 8:45pm

Stay positive Toppa , your story is an exact mirror of mine . Been a kneelo for 50 years after being a stand up for a couple of years prior to becoming a cripple . Two years ago developed a serious cancer and after numerous infections and god knows how many infusions of chemo and surgery I beat it Got back into the gym to get muscle strength back and major life style changes .
Then decided to become a stand up and so far it has taken awhile , the habit of kneeling is hard to get out of ! Ended up buying a 8'3" Mal , lots of buoyancy and suitable for my 73kg frame . Perfect for those 2ft days .
Good luck for the future Toppa .

Toppa's picture
Toppa's picture
Toppa commented Saturday, 24 Mar 2018 at 9:32pm

Thanks Cripple52 our stories are very similar and your story definitely gives me hope and confidence. Thanks for sharing it with me, life certainly can take an unexpected twist at times. As for standing up I am kneelo to the core, but with some major lifestyle changes ahead I am keen to give it a go. Nothing like a new challenge to keep life interesting. Thanks again mate, much appreciated.

Toppa

philosurphizingkerching's picture
philosurphizingkerching's picture
philosurphizing... commented Sunday, 25 Mar 2018 at 11:25am

I've got a mal that is 23'' wide and it is a bugger to carry, I'm 5' 10'' and it's difficult to get my arm around it carrying it normally. When I lent it to a mate who's about 5' 8'' he couldn't get his arm around it, you see alot of smaller girls at the Pass at Byron carrying their mals resting on their hip, not good for the back in my opinion.
I would recommend narrower, something less than 22''.
I would also recommend polystyrene foam with 6 oz glass job for the combination of lightness and strength.

philosurphizingkerching's picture
philosurphizingkerching's picture
philosurphizing... commented Sunday, 25 Mar 2018 at 12:58pm

I've got a mal that is 23'' wide and it is a bugger to carry, I'm 5' 10'' and it's difficult to get my arm around it carrying it normally. When I lent it to a mate who's about 5' 8'' he couldn't get his arm around it, you see alot of smaller girls at the Pass at Byron carrying their mals resting on their hip, not good for the back in my opinion.
I would recommend narrower, something less than 22''.
I would also recommend polystyrene foam with 6 oz epoxy glass job for the combination of lightness and strength.

Toppa's picture
Toppa's picture
Toppa commented Sunday, 25 Mar 2018 at 12:12pm

Thanks mate I will take this on board, much appreciated.

Toppa

Toppa's picture
Toppa's picture
Toppa commented Sunday, 25 Mar 2018 at 5:56pm

Guys how do you think this would suit? I know it's mass produced and inferior quality to a traditional board. NSP also do tufflite boards I think. My daughter's first board was an NSP mini mal and it did the job for her as a beginner.

https://www.manlysurfboards.com.au/shop/nsp-06-elements-hdt-longboard/

Toppa

thatguy's picture
thatguy's picture
thatguy commented Monday, 26 Mar 2018 at 10:06am

You'll quickly grow bored of it and regret it. From my experience, and I'll admit it was only 2 sessions while on holiday, the have too much float and turning them is like course correcting a house boat. Keep looking around and you'll do better especially with the colder months coming as people tend to ditch boards once the water chills and the summer surf experiment finishes. If you're worried about width, and who isn't, curve surf do a range of board slings for under $50 that are worth checking out.

singkenken's picture
singkenken's picture
singkenken commented Monday, 26 Mar 2018 at 10:36am

Toppa u got a big job in front of you ( my background is Nursing) & I wish you every positive vibration in getting better. A reformed cripple myself, I can echo some of the above. Stay below 23" wide as they are indeed a bugger to carry ( you need a bit of strength too), 22" is plenty wide. 9'1" is about right for you for paddling etc, but stay up in thickness 2& 7/8 would be good. Go for a full outline with generous tail area.Epoxies are light, and springy, but don't have much glide, so you might prefer a normal PU board with heavier glassing ( good inertia once you get' em going). Ditch the big fin with outriders & go for good large area thruster set up ( you will thank me - it helps with the houseboat factor). Hope this is useful.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Monday, 26 Mar 2018 at 1:54pm

Good info in this thread. Hope it helps you out Saint Toppa.

Toppa's picture
Toppa's picture
Toppa commented Monday, 26 Mar 2018 at 5:12pm

Thanks singkenken, thatguy, Stu and everyone else who has offered me some really helpful tips and positive vibes, I really appreciate it. I think it helps when you are going through a bit of a crisis to have something positive in front of you and that's how I'm viewing my 'conversion' to stand up surfing. Thankyou so much everyone you are all a great bunch of people. I hope to see you all in the lineup somewhere! Cheers Toppa

Toppa

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog commented Monday, 26 Mar 2018 at 7:08pm

I haven't ridden that many mals. I had a lot of fun on a 10 footer in tiny waves. But i found that at my weight of 84 kgs a reasonably thick and wide 8 footer allowed me to have all the paddle power and down the line speed of a longer board but you can step back to the sweet spot and turn well and swing around for a quick take off and slip in to a sucky one without 2 ft of extra nose in the way. You can dodge crowds by targeting small conditions and catch 3 times as many waves as normal.

Frogg

Toppa's picture
Toppa's picture
Toppa commented Monday, 26 Mar 2018 at 7:26pm

Sounds pretty good frog! Cheers mate

Toppa